With the miniscule amount of toys G.I. Joe Renegades seems to be getting, it’s a miracle we’re seeing any vehicles at all, especially one that isn’t the Coyote. We did get to see the new HISS in action (which I still need in some form), and the HISS is always great; really, it isn’t G.I. Joe without one. But there was one vehicle from Renegades that stood out to me, one that just jumped out, mostly because it was a variation on the Osprey, one of my all-time favorite pieces of military aircraft. Sure, it’s not as big as it is in the cartoon, but that sure doesn’t hurt it.
The Black Dragon VTOL takes its name from another faction in the G.I. Joe Universe, one introduced through the collector’s club back in 2005. Really, I think it’s an attempt to keep the copyright, but hey, the name works well enough. This heli is sleek. I swear, I’m gonna need a few more of these. This whole aesthetic goes perfectly with my vision of Cobra, always being one step ahead of the game in terms of military tech. On that note, actually, I might grab one of these to paint up in an Iron Grenadier color scheme. I can definitely see a lot of these patrolling good ol’ Castle Destro.
Like any good vehicle, there’s “some assembly required” and it really impressed me how Hasbro fit a vehicle this big into a box smaller than that of the VAMP. But there’s one thing that won me over: NO STICKERS! Yes, all the detail on this puppy is painted, and it looks fantastic. Stickering vehicles is okay until there gets to be over, oh, FIFTY for a single vehicle? I remembering buying a case of 25th Anniversary vehicles back in 2009, and it took me about four hours to put the stickers on all of them.
This vehicle has a good selection of gimmicks that don’t hurt it in ANY way, shape, or form. Both wings can be positioned to the rear and with a push of a button they swing into place. The second button opens up a pair of containers each loaded with four bombs and deploys a machine gun. AND IT WORKS! AMAZING.
The cockpit seems a bit small for modern-era figures. They can’t grasp the control stick as well as vintage O-Ring figures. The included pilot has the biggest problem with this… which brings me to him.
I hate wasted potential so much. The new Cobra Air Trooper has such a GREAT design, but the sculpt is terrible. Doesn’t make sense? Let me break it down. The head, vest, and parachute are all awesome, but the choice of parts sucks. I’m not sure where most of them came from, but they’re just so blah. But the biggest offense of all are the lower legs. What the hell happened? I can tell these are new sculpts, but, what? These legs look and function terribly, and make me think of Starscream in the Transformers movies. I really hope we see the head again somewhere else, maybe on the Shock Trooper body or something.
Despite its seriously disappointing pilot, the Black Dragon comes highly recommended. This thing is certainly going to become a mainstay of my Cobra air force from here on out. It’s sleek, it’s sexy, it’s new. It’s everything I wanted from the new sculpt line. I’m actually hoping we see this in silver for the new movie, for the Joes. If you want one (or five) of your own, take a look by FPNYC!